back to article Cops suspect Detroit fuel station was hacked before 10 drivers made off with 2.3k 'free' litres

Police suspect that high-tech thieves may have hacked into a Detroit petrol station before stealing about 600 US gallons (+-2,300 litres) of fuel. Fox News affiliate WJBK reported that the clerk was unable to shut off a pump that dispensed free fuel for 90 minutes. Ten vehicles took advantage of the security hole to fuel up …

  1. getHandle

    Outrageous!

    50p a litre? Why are we being ripped off so badly at over 120p a litre??

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Outrageous!

      I wish I could find fuel for sale anywhere near my home for as little as 120p per litre

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Outrageous!

        120.7p per litre is the cheapest I’ve seen recently, at the Morrisons near J9 of the M6. The motorway service stations were charging 147.9p. I don’t know why anyone ever buys from them.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Outrageous!

          $3.899 here in Sonoma, California. Unless you have the space and forethought to purchase in bulk, when the price is low.

          Surprised nobody's made the obvious xenophobic commentardary about "wimpy US gallons".

          1. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: @jake - "wimpy US gallons"

            Well it's obvious they are talking 600 full-fat imperial gallons giving 2,728 litres as 600 US gallons would be 2,271 litres. So no need for us non-USAians to mention it! :)

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: @jake - "wimpy US gallons"

              If you'd RTFA, you might have noted that it specifies "US Gallons". But thanks for playing, Scrote.

              1. Santa from Exeter

                Re: @jake - "wimpy US gallons"

                And if you knew your history (which many Septics don't) you'd realise that your precious 'US' gallon is actually a very old English gallon which the rest of the world long abandoned when they moved on. Hint, look up Queen Anne Gallon.

                Thanks for playing Tosspot.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: @jake - "wimpy US gallons"

                  Santa from Exeter, one wonders how one plays Tosspot? Is that another peculiar British eccentricity?

              2. Scroticus Canis Silver badge

                Re: @jake - "... thanks for playing ..."

                Is it that what comentardery is about?

                I see that they have updated the article to include "US" gallons and correct the miscalculated litre values. Was wondering why Detroit would be using imperial measures ;)

                1. jake Silver badge
                  Pint

                  Re: @jake - "... thanks for playing ..."

                  Scrote, of course that's what it's about :-)

                  When I first read the article, it was already US gallons. Or so I remember ... And it took place in Detroit, after all, so the Police Report would have been in US gallons.

                  Whatever. It's one of those stories that's ripe for daftness, especially when you take into account (un)intentional cross-pond (mis)translation. Beer?

          2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Outrageous!

            "wimpy US gallons"

            Taking 1 US Gallon = 0.00378541 M3

            The Reg Standards Converter gives

            6.5723 Bulgarian airbag (C-cup Posh Spice)

            or

            2.2109 Bulgarian funbag (DD-cup Jordan)

            With 1 Imperial Gallon = 0.00454609 M3

            7.8931 Bulgarian airbag (C-cup Posh Spice)

            or

            2.6552Bulgarian funbag (DD-cup Jordan

            1. onefang Silver badge

              Re: Outrageous!

              Looking at your icon, I'm wondering why we don't have a B-cup Paris unit? American airhead? Useful for smaller quantities. Probably should be an A-cup unit to, just for the sake of completeness.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Outrageous!

            @jake; Don't worry, no-one's going to make fun of your dinky little gallons. We appreciate that you're obviously so paranoid about the size of your mini gallons that you consider a little joking "xenophobic" and raised the subject before it even happened.

            So there certainly won't be any mockery regarding any alleged preference your country's women might have for a big, fat imperial gallon over the modestly-sized homegrown version. No, sir.

            Similarly, I appreciate that your "pints" are also smaller for good reason- it's so that there's enough space left over when you add that much beer to a *real* pint glass that you can top it up with lemonade for a delicious, refreshing glass of shandy. (#) Mmm.

            (#) Although this is also available to Americans in a pre-mixed form known as "Budweiser".

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Outrageous!

              One wonders why the AC is so vigorously defending British pints and gallons. I though you lot had teh metrics these days.

          4. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: Outrageous!

            Surprised nobody's made the obvious xenophobic commentardary about "wimpy US gallons".

            I think thats because El Reg helpfully translated into Liters annd pounds so we could compare seamlessly - although the figure being banded around (50p / litre ) is out by some margin ...

            £1360 / 2300 L = 59p

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Outrageous!

          I don’t know why anyone ever buys from them.

          Because most of us who use them regularly have fuel cards. We don't actually pay that much...not nearly that much. Last I saw, we were paying about £1.06.

          The only people who pay full price are the poor sods desperate for fuel who can't find anything else nearby. Or when someone else is paying...

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: Outrageous!

            Presumably +VAT which would = £1.272, still more expensive than Morrisons.

            The wholesale cost of a litre of crude oil + tax is £1.141 per litre, and that doesn't allow anything for refining, delivery, petrol station running costs and so on, so they are not going to sell you it at £1.06.

            Morrisons + Grenergy (oil refinery jointly owned by Morrisons and Tesco) make 5.5p per litre in gross margin which covers all the costs in getting crude oil from the oil field, turning it into petrol, shipping it to the store and paying all the wages & so on at the petrol station.

    2. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Outrageous!

      A combination of fuel duty and the weak pound...

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Outrageous!

        A weak pound worth $1.32?

        1. Korev Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: Outrageous!

          >A weak pound worth $1.32?

          It was only a decade ago that each pound bought over $2.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Outrageous!

            The first year I lived in England, it was $2.50 to the pound.

      2. BillG Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Outrageous!

        the clerk was unable to shut off a pump that dispensed free fuel for 90 minutes

        What about putting one of those bright yellow bags that say "Out of Order" over the nozzle?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Outrageous!

          What about putting one of those bright yellow bags that say "Out of Order" over the nozzle?"

          ...and calling the cops after the first drive-off, not 90 minutes later when s/he figured out where the emergency stop button was.

        2. Jtom Bronze badge

          Re: Outrageous!

          What about writing down the tag numbers and telling drivers they will be reported for theft? I think the attendant was either sleeping, or selling the gas for cash at a discount.

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: Outrageous!

            What about writing down the tag numbers and telling drivers they will be reported for theft? I think the attendant was either sleeping, or selling the gas for cash at a discount.

            Garages have CCTV for that, as it's more useful in a court case so they ought to be able to do that anyway.

            The problem was probably that the attendant a minimum wage employee, and didn't know what to do in that situation and wasn't willing to make any kind of judgement call lest he or she be fired for doing "the wrong thing" by an opressively sociopathic manager, who themselves has sod all decision making autonomy and so just enjoys lording it over their staff.

            Remember that IT employees are generally given more lattitude to make these sort of decisions than many other workers can dream of. Personally, after thinking about it for about 2 minutes i'd pull the emergency stop on that row of pumps, stick up an "out of order" sign, and then force people to use the other pumps and call in manglement to figure things out. But again, that is probably more lattitude than the poor sods doing that sort of job are allowed to exercise.

        3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Outrageous!

          the clerk was unable to shut off a pump that dispensed free fuel for 90 minutes

          What about putting one of those bright yellow bags that say "Out of Order" over the nozzle?

          ...or a sign saying "please pay, obvs"

          Thinking about it , all the pumps in the UK dispense fuel you havent paid for yet , but we then go and pay afterward. I wonder if any americans have come over here and thought "Hey this pumps giving out free fuel!"

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Outrageous!

            "Thinking about it , all the pumps in the UK dispense fuel you havent paid for yet , "

            Not all. Most of the supermarkets have at least half their pumps with pay by card. Being usually the cheapest, that's where I go so I can't speak for other forecourts.

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re: Outrageous!

              Yeah but you can still use those pumps in the traditional way right?

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Outrageous!

                "Yeah but you can still use those pumps in the traditional way right?"

                Yes, push the button to say "pay at kiosk". Does that not happen in the US too?

                1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

                  Re: Outrageous!

                  " Does that not happen in the US too?"

                  I'm not American , but from the story it appears that americans cannot be trusted not to hot foot it, rootin and tootin, firing their guns in the air , yelling viva las vegas , over the horizon given the sight of any sort of machine that dispenses fuel without first having taken payment!

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: Outrageous!

                    Mr. V.Jeltz, that's a nice imagination you have been provided by the entertainment industry. Shame you may have lost the use of your own.

                    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

                      Re: Outrageous!

                      "that's a nice imagination you have been provided by the entertainment industry."

                      Well im having to use my imagination and read between the line because it seems basically nobody knows what happened!

                      "Dispensed free fuel" ?

                      Like the shelves in the shop dispense free magazines?

                      whats the tech angle?

                      Sounds to me like a gang of pikey driveaway merchants went on a spree and it had nothing to do with the electronics in the pump.

                      What I'm saying is - what has apparently occurred could happen anywhere anytime and does not require a haxxed pump!

                2. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Outrageous!

                  Yes, you can pay at the "kiosk" (You know that word's not English, right? Still, it's better than "bloody hut", I guess). You can pay in cash, by debit card, or by credit card ... and I still see the odd LOL write a check occasionally (I refuse to use "cheque", it smells French).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Outrageous!

      50p a litre? Why are we being ripped off so badly at over 120p a litre??

      Easy; fuel duty on diesel/petrol is 57.95 pence per litre, plus VAT @ 20% on the total fuel+fuel duty.

      Whether you like being taxed that way or some other is, of course, ultimately a political choice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Outrageous!

        Don't forget that most of that is green taxes from the Climate Change Act - cut those out and the duty becomes reasonable.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Outrageous!

          Don't forget that most of that is green taxes from the Climate Change Act - cut those out and the duty becomes reasonable.

          Not really. The Climate Change Act has certainly driven up the costs of many things, primarily through the higher cost of electricity. And it is a Work of Great Stupidity, but it isn't really driving petrol and diesel taxes.

          Road fuel duties have always been simply a source of ready income where people's desire for mobility is such that they'll pay whatever, and that's not a "carbon tax", it's just the leeches of Westminster taking money wherever they can. Even the "climate taxes" themselves are bollocks, and were never about a genuine "carbon tax", as the EU-approved cost exemptions for "energy intensive industries" shows - and in that case, the lower duty for companies in mining, metals processing and the like are then added to the cost of non-energy intensive users, as business electricity customers will know to their cost.

        2. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: Outrageous!

          > Don't forget that most of that is green taxes from the Climate Change Act - cut those out and the duty becomes reasonable.

          And people wonder why the US refused to be a party to that...

    4. James O'Shea Silver badge

      Re: Outrageous!

      I was just going to say that gas is expensive in Detroit, $1800 for 600 gallons is $3/gallon. It’s $2.64 here in Deepest South Florida, and could be as low as $2.49. If anyone tried to overcharge Los Hijos de Cuba, or, especially, their sisters, Las Latinas Brava, they would learn Spanish wods and phrases not usually taught in schools. And then their language instructors would drive off and buy elsewhere, while continuing the language instruction out the window, at length and at high volume. If someone even thought about 120p/litre, Los Hijos would expend more than mere words.

      1. dmacleo

        Re: Outrageous!

        about 2.82 $ here in maine right now, +/- a bit of course depending on actual location and store

        1. James O'Shea Silver badge

          Re: Outrageous!

          Maine has, I think, relatively few Cubans. You can have some of ours. No, take them, we won't mind, and no, we won't take Quebecois in exchange, we have more than enough of 'em in snowbird season as it is. I'm typing this from a KFC in Hialeah. I am literally the only non-Cuban on premises. The girl at the counter had to call her supervisor to translate; it was most amusing to listen to her Spanish and not let on that I understood what she was saying. This was at the KFC on 49th St... that is, Calle 49. In Hialeah and Doral, every single billboard I see is in Spanish; in Kendal, at least half. If you no habla around here, you're in serious shit... mierda. Whatever. And anyone who doesn't think that Las Latinas Brava can out-cuss anyone, even Linus Thorvalds, hasn't heard 'em in action. Their motto is 'I am Latina, hear me roar', and this is their signature image: https://jokideo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/lioness-roaring-at-lion.jpg (Note: do NOT forget your anniversary or her birthday. You WILL be sorry.)

        2. Jamesit

          Re: Outrageous!

          Where I live the price is about a 1.45/litre

    5. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Outrageous!

      Tee-hee.

      Drive into the small towns south of the Mason-Dixon line and it gets even cheaper.

      This was one of the reasons I decided to stay here rather than return to my increasingly expensive homeland.

      Here in NY people like us (earning a middle-class wage) can afford to do a Clark Griswold job on their houses at Christmas if they want, because energy is cheap. It's even cheaper down south, but they don't get much snow. Gotta have snow for that "twinklin' in the glow of the house" effect.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Outrageous!

        Snow's all very nice and all, but the weather during the other 9 months of the year make the entire country East of the Rockies unlivable to humans who have lived elsewhere, sans humidity, deer/horse/black flies, mosquitoes, roaches & other bits & bobs. I suspect there is a reason ElReg has offices in SF and not NY ... and it ain't technology related.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: the entire country East of the Rockies unlivable to humans

          I lived for four years in Boulder, Colorado for four years and they were the best four years of my childhood.

          Right at the feet of the Rockies, you took the car and twenty minutes later you lost in the wilderness.

          Gorgeous.

          To this day, 40 years later I still love mountains.

          And we didn't have no roaches.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: the entire country East of the Rockies unlivable to humans

            Boulder touches the Rockies, thus not "east of". Same for Denver. Note I didn't say anything about the Continental Divide.

        2. Jtom Bronze badge

          Re: Outrageous!

          But at least the rest of the country doesn't smell like piss, isn't covered in feces, nor must tiptoe around used needles. Once you run out of potable water you will well and truly be a third-world city.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Outrageous!

            If you're talking to me about that hell-hole known as San Francisco, you couldn't pay me enough to live there. It's in the top three miss-managed cities in the nation, in my opinion ... the other two are Berkeley and Oakland in no particular order. Followed closely by any other East Bay city, followed immediately by BART (if it were a city, which legally it very nearly is).

            Feel better now, Jtom?

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Outrageous!

              "If you're talking to me about that hell-hole known as San Francisco, you couldn't pay me enough to live there."

              According to a BBC report today, if you are in the bottom end of a 6 figure salary and living in SF you'd be classed as "poor" and may be able to claim housing assistance. So yeah, you need to be paid a lot to live there :-)

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Outrageous!

                I know how expensive it is to live in The City, Mr. (no body). I lived there briefly once, about thirty years ago. It was a hell-hole then, and it's worse today. It's not that cost that keeps me away, it's the fact that it's a horrible place to live ... ESPECIALLY seeing that you can live in a much nicer location for well under half the money not 25 miles away from SF City Hall.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Outrageous!

      130p - 146p / litre for Diesel where I am.

    7. pavel.petrman

      Re: Outrageous!

      Well, I would guess one doesn't pay taxes on goods that weren't sold, so the damages are in buying prices (before the IRS states that their damage is twice as much in "goods stolen pre-tax").

  2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Pumping Hack Flash

    It's a gas, gas, gas

    1. GnuTzu Bronze badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Pumping Hack Flash

      And (voted up):

      "A six-foot long drillbit and a pump with a hose would've got way more.""

      Watch out for sparking, 'cause then it will flash--explosively.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Pumping Hack Flash

        Nah. Might burn, though. Exploding gas/petrol stations are few and far between, outside Hollywood. The stoichiometric ratio for proper explosions rarely occurs in the wild.

        1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker
          FAIL

          Re: Pumping Hack Flash

          jake: "The stoichiometric ratio for proper explosions rarely occurs in the wild."

          As demonstrated by "Mythbusters" -- trying to get a gas tank to explode was hard work. Like you also said, it ended with more flame and less boom.

          1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

            Re: Pumping Hack Flash

            As demonstrated by "Mythbusters" -- trying to get a gas tank to explode was hard work. Like you also said, it ended with more flame and less boom.

            And, IIRC, fewer eyebrows at the end of the experiment than at the start

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Pumping Hack Flash

              Wasn't fewer eyebrows in Adam's contract?

        2. John Crisp

          Re: Pumping Hack Flash

          Indeed. My firefighting training for being at sea taught me empty things usually made bigger bangs than full things.

          Some scary videos to illustrate the fact.

          Always felt more comfortable with 30,000 tonnes of petrol and diesel than without :-)

          Tank inspections were not fun...

        3. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: Pumping Hack Flash

          Nah. Might burn, though. Exploding gas/petrol stations are few and far between, outside Hollywood. The stoichiometric ratio for proper explosions rarely occurs in the wild.

          Heh. When the Japanese invaded the Dutch East Indies in 1942 (the whole reason for the little visit to Hawaii being to clear the flanks so that Japan could get oil, FDR having cut their oil supply off) the Dutch tried to destroy assorted oil refineries, tank farms, etc., only to find that they wouldn't blow up despite the use of explosives. Some of them wouldn't even burn after someone tossed a few grenades into a tank... Of course it didn't help that the tank farm in question was under assault by paratroops of the Japanese Special Naval Landing Force at the time, and things were rather hurried. Someone had neglected to plan properly, and it wasn't Japan.

  3. Jon 37

    What about switching the pump off?

    Petrol stations in the UK have a firemans's switch that allows the fire brigade to shut off power to all the pumps. This will very effectively stop people from using a faulty pump - although it would also stop people from using the other pumps. I presume the US petrol stations have them too, since they're clearly a sensible idea.

    Alternatively, an employee could go stand in front of the pump, or call the police to get them to come stand by the pump.

    But I expect the petrol station was being run by a minimum-wage employee who was trained to do things by the book, and there wasn't a procedure for this. Management chose to limit it's employees initiative, management can take the loss.

    1. GnuTzu Bronze badge

      Re: What about switching the pump off?

      Here in the states, yes. Often a big red kill switch button. Found a training video on YouTube. I'm surprised we don't hear stories of pranksters smacking these.

    2. Velv Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: What about switching the pump off?

      Pumps in the UK have physical locks to secure the handle into the holder, or at the very least holes for padlocks.

      Call me cynical, but when they track down the 10 "customers" who got free gas I'm predicting they all know the station attendant in some capacity.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: What about switching the pump off?

        Pumps in the UK have physical locks to secure the handle into the holder

        In case of fire write to the address below to and we will respond within 28 days

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: What about switching the pump off?

          Yes, all petrol/gas stations in the US are required, by law, to have a master cut-off switch that anybody can operate to disable all pumps. It's one of the first things that new employees are shown.

          Strangely, I've never heard of "pranksters" tripping these switches, any more than they trip mains breakers. Not sure why ... other than the fact that the miscreants know that retribution would be swift, with long-lasting bruising. Stupidity should hurt.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: What about switching the pump off?

            " I've never heard of "pranksters" tripping these switches"

            I've seen kids operate the emergency door open button on a bus , and then chuck snowballs in .

            1. jake Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: What about switching the pump off?

              And I've seen kids hit every button on an elevator (lift) and get out on the first stop ... but that has nothing to do with the subject at hand, Mr. V.Jeltz, now does it? (Other than the "quick getaway from people unwilling to leave the transport before their stop" aspect, of course ... which they don't have when tripping mains breakers or pump cut-offs. Which probably answers my question. Ta! Beer?)

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: I'm predicting they all know the station attendant in some capacity

        You mean like, they've already been to that station a few times ?

    3. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: What about switching the pump off?

      He was probably on hold waiting for permission to push the button.

    4. mrobaer

      Re: What about switching the pump off?

      According to the FOX article, this took place around 1pm. That's a rather hectic time for fuel stations in my area, and we're not anywhere close to a major city. I don't know what it looks like from the clerks' point of view when customers are fueling, but it's not uncommon to have a steady flow of vehicles getting fuel, sometimes even waiting in line for it. I'd wager that several vehicles received the fuel before it was noticed, especially if there were people at the counter making purchases (distracting the clerk).

      Your last point is very accurate. This poor lad was probably thinking of the ass chewing he'd get for turning off ALL the pumps and losing those profits, so was just focused on trying to turn off the problematic pump.

  4. mevets

    Smaller in the US.

    Merkin gallons are 3.78 litres, thus 2260 litres, not 2700.

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: Smaller in the US.

      Even at 2260 it doesn't sound right.

      For 10 drivers, that's an average of 226L. My car has a 60L tank and it is, depending on how you define these terms, a giant SUV (right pondian) or a city car (left pondian). That is fairly typical size. The average is almost 4 tankfulls. Something isn't adding up.

  5. dmacleo

    god forbid clerk block the pump off and lock the handle.

    course that would involve walking outside alone in detroit....

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Maybe they remotely locked the doors and broke the Tanoy as well?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Note to my fellow Yanks ...

        ... "Tannoy" (note proper spleling) is a trademark for a particular brand of Public Address system, and is used as a Generic in the UK ... Why they don't use the more descriptive "PA" that the rest of the world uses is an accident of history, and one of those tannoying things that make British English speakers feel so superior to the rest of the planet. Just allow them the indulgence, pass it off as Yet Another British Language Eccentricity, and move on. It's easier that way.

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: Note to my fellow Yanks ...

          > Note to my fellow Yanks ...

          "bing-bong. Brimish Rull regret that mumble maz bem dermumble a mir mumble mumble bimble late. Passengers mizzing to mumble rimble mumble are advised to momble mar at murmble. Thank you mor mumble mimbling Brimble mum. bing-bong."

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Note to my fellow Yanks ...

            But Gene, you can make up the time by taking a cab to St. Pancreas. Everybody knows that!

            1. NoOnions

              Re: Note to my fellow Yanks ...

              "Pancreas" :-)

              1. jake Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: Note to my fellow Yanks ...

                I know, I know. For some reason my fingers always make that typo ... and my eyes don't catch it when proofreading. Maybe I should type "Pancras" 1,000 times to burn it into my nervous system.

                Mea culpa. I'm only human. Beer?

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Note to my fellow Yanks ...

          First can we discuss the topic of describing a liquid fuel as gas?

          1. kain preacher Silver badge

            Re: Note to my fellow Yanks ...

            it's short for gasoline. But you knew that already

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re: Note to my fellow Yanks ...

              "it's short for gasoline. But you knew that already"

              Yeah we knew that, but that makes it only slightly less wrong, its still ..... gassy .

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Note to my fellow Yanks ...

                But Mr. V.Jeltz, you DO know that the word "Gasoline" was invented in the British Isles, don't you? At least according to the Big Dic[0] ... See here.

                [0] OED

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Note to my fellow Yanks ...

            It's gasoline, or gas for short. Has nothing to do with a state of matter. But you knew that.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Note to my fellow Yanks ...

          "Why they don't use the more descriptive "PA" that the rest of the world uses"

          It's the same all over the world, certain brand names become so successful the brand become synonymous with the product type, even if it's actually another brand. Durex in Australia, Scotch Tape in the US, Sellotape in the UK, all the same product (and can cause confusion for Aussies in the UK and vice versa when asking for Durex in the wrong shop for he wrong reasons!)

          1. Adam 1 Silver badge

            Re: Note to my fellow Yanks ...

            All I can say is that if your in Australia and the Mrs tells you to grab a Durex, she's not going to be impressed if you return with a roll of sellotape.

        4. gotes

          Re: Note to my fellow Yanks ...

          I'm British, and it (T)annoys the hell out of me when people use the name Tannoy when they mean PA.

          Mind you, I do say "Velcro" instead of "Hook-and-loop fastener".

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Note to my fellow Yanks ...

            "I'm British, and it (T)annoys the hell out of me when people use the name Tannoy when they mean PA."

            But why do you want your Personal Assistant to shout out announcements when you could use a Tannoy instead?

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Note to my fellow Yanks ...

              My Personal Assistant doesn't have time for political correctness. He'll tell you over the Public Address system that he's a secretary.

        5. IsJustabloke Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Note to my fellow Yanks ...

          "pass it off as Yet Another British Language Eccentricity, and move on"

          There's no such language as "British"...The language is called English.

          You may wish to add a signifier indicating which dialect you're speaking but otherwise it's English.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Note to my fellow Yanks ...

            "There's no such language as "British"...The language is called English."

            There is no such language as "British", correct. However, there IS a language spoken by the British. And it has it's eccentricities.

  6. Orv Silver badge

    When I lived in Michigan back in the early 2000s, pay-at-the-pump systems were still relatively new in many places and all the kinks weren't worked out. Someone discovered that a local station's system would unlock the pump for any card, not just a credit card, because it wasn't checking preauthorization properly. Unfortunately for the thieves, many of them chose to use their driver's licenses, and the system captured their license numbers from the mag stripe on the card, making it rather easy to track them down.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      making it rather easy to track them down.

      Would that actually be a crime?

      If I offer you fake $ bills that is a crime

      But if you ask for a magnetic card and accept me swiping a library card and then give me the goods - didn't we both just enter freely into a contract ?

      1. 404 Silver badge

        > Would that actually be a crime?

        Technically? Probably not, but the public defender for the person busted for this kind of crime, won't use it for a defense lol...

      2. kain preacher Silver badge

        It's called fraud because no one saw you use the library card This was at the pump. So it's either just theft of theft by fraud. I mean if he actually walked and hand the clerk a library card then I would have to say yes he did nothing wrong(or the clerk is stoned as hell)

        1. Orv Silver badge

          It's theft. You took the fuel, you didn't pay for it. It's pretty simple.

          Moreover, it's almost certainly "Theft of motor vehicle fuel" (750.367c):

          "The secretary of state shall suspend the operator's or chauffeur's license of a person convicted of an offense or attempted offense under this chapter involving the theft of motor vehicle fuel that occurred by pumping the fuel into a motor vehicle..."

          In the case I mentioned the police essentially gave people a choice -- pay for the fuel they took, or be charged with theft and have their license suspended.

    2. John Gamble

      "When I lived in Michigan back in the early 2000s, pay-at-the-pump systems were still relatively new in many places and all the kinks weren't worked out."

      In suburban Detroit? Maybe in the boondockier areas of Michigan where an independently-owned station can still make a go of it, but in the Detroit area you're going to fuel up in a major oil company's station, which in my experience converted in the 1990s.

      1. Orv Silver badge

        This was in Ann Arbor, IIRC.

        The systems weren't *new* new exactly, but they were new enough that a lot of them were installed without thinking through possible exploits.

      2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        pay at pump

        "Detroit area you're going to fuel up in a major oil company's station, which in my experience converted in the 1990s."

        In a lotta ways the US is so far ahead of us

        In the 70s they had telephone systems we could only dream of - answer machines , party calls , on hold buttons... All we had was pulse dialling or Doris at the exchange patching wires.

        ...And now we still dont have pay at the pump! we have to queue twice for no goddam reason at all.

        (ok we do have it here and there - a couple of the pumps at my local morrisons, which last time I tried it , wouldnt read my card)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Few things 600 gallons for 10 cars? That's one huge gas tank. Lastly last time I was inside a gas station it had a big red EPO and a knife switch .

    1. jake Silver badge

      My dually tow rig holds 80 gallons (30 gallon main tank, and two 25 gallon saddle tanks), and I know quite a few people who have similar extended range tanks. Probably not all that common in Detroit, though.

      9 cars at 15 gallons each, and one truck with nine 55 gallon drums?

      9 cars at 20 gallons each, and one big rig with long-range tanks?

      10 cars at 10-20 gallons as a diversion, and one large tanker out back with a pump and a hose into the underground tank?

      1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

        "10 cars at 10-20 gallons as a diversion, and one large tanker out back with a pump and a hose into the underground tank?"

        That plus the maybe exaggerated price smacks of an over-optimistic insurance claim.

        1. kain preacher Silver badge

          "That plus the maybe exaggerated price smacks of an over-optimistic insurance claim."

          Like how the police claims $600 drug bust turns into $60,000

  8. KLane

    It's federal law in the US

    29 CFR 1917.156 - Fuel handling and storage

    (a)Liquid fuel.

    .....................

    (8) Liquid fuel dispensing devices shall be provided with an easily accessible and clearly identified shut-off device, such as a switch or circuit breaker, to shut off the power in an emergency.

  9. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    2.7 K << 3 K.

    I've told you lot a million times not to exaggerate.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't think so

    If only ten vehicles stole 600 gallons of fuel then they must have had special fuel tanks as most cars normally don't have larger than 20 gallon fuel tanks these days.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: I don't think so

      Or, I dunno, jerry cans.

      C.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: jerry cans

        If those specific ten cars all showed up one after the other at the same pump with a half dozen jerry cans - they're gonna have to have some seriously l33t 'splaining skillz to convince the plods that it was all sheer coincidence.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: jerry cans

          seriously l33t 'splaining skillz

          lolz , is there a course you can do for that?

  11. kain preacher Silver badge

    Ok does any here think that the gas attendant was just to high to figure out how to turn the pumps off ??

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Maybe it was a busy day and it took him nine cars to notice ?

      Okay, I'm going out on a limb, I know, but if it's rush hour and there's not a colleague to count on, it's conceivable.

      And if the miscreants wanted to maximize the haul, they'd obviously hit when activity is high.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Pascal, it's not like you to not RTFA ... it clearly says 1PM. That's the beginning of the post-lunch slowdown at most petrol/gas stations.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is 60 gallons enough to travel coast to coast in the US ( assuming not averaging 90+ mph ) ? Must be close.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Figure it out for yourself.

      San Francisco, CA to New York, NY[0] ... 2900 miles, give or take a couple. Can your personal transport get a trifle over 48 MPG, sustained? If so, the answer is yes. Assuming you don't hit roadwork, weather, or traffic along I-80, that is. Which is unlikely.

      [0] Git a rope ...

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Figure it out for yourself.

        we have cars over here in Europe that get double that mpg - you could cross the country and back again!

        mine isnt one of them :(

  13. EveryTime Silver badge

    > "San Francisco, CA to New York, NY[0] ... 2900 miles, give or take a couple. "

    There is a race called the '2904' that traces back to the Cannonball Run.

    As for fuel prices, the local station is posted at $4.10/gallon (well, $4.099). And our electric rate is $0.48/KWh (dropping to about $0.12 after 11pm). Don't image that energy cost in Europe is that much more expensive than California.

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      "Don't image that energy cost in Europe is that much more expensive than California."

      It may not be. But the tax is a killer...

    2. EnviableOne Bronze badge

      UK Average is about £0.1437/KWh + standing charge for elec

      on eco7 (cheap night rate) £0.17/KWh peak and £0.08 off-peak

      for Diesel £1.314/l

      for Unleaded £1.282/l

      so we do quite well for elec, but fuel is a rip-off

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inside job?

    Years ago I had a 'mate' on the inside.

    A nod and a wink from the pump.

    Free fuel and oil.

    * No idea if he's 'inside' now.

  15. Eclectic Man

    Critical National Infrastructure vulnerability

    Another article on the Register indicates that some malware has been designed to be backwards compatible with Windows XP. I wonder what OS those pumps are running? In the UK some years ago, fuel delivery drivers went on strike, and fuel depots were picketed. It was a national emergency and people were running our of petrol. Imagine what would happen if a hostile foreign power decided to stop all the petrol pumps working.

    1. defiler Silver badge

      Re: Critical National Infrastructure vulnerability

      It was a national emergency and people were running our of petrol.

      The petrol station attendants were surprisingly accommodating of motorcycles. Just as well too. More than once they let me past the cordon to top up.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Because who needs Fuel POS Online

    https://www.shodan.io/search?query=Fuel-POS

    Oh these guys :facepalm:

  17. YetAnotherLocksmith

    Fame at last!

    Though this comment will languish at the bottom forever...

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Fame at last!

      nope!

  18. Craigie
    Trollface

    Couldn't stop them?

    Did he not have a cone?

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: Couldn't stop them?

      According to other commentards above, he may have had too many cones*.

      * I have found out recently that cones in the context I mean doesn't always translate that well, in this case I mean hits from a bong, or smoking a small bowl of marijuana through a water pipe. Other styles of getting high are available.

  19. Claverhouse Bronze badge

    Any British people here complaining about petrol taxes have the solution in their own hands: vote Conservative and they promise to slash all taxes.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Forgetting for a moment thats basically impossible,

      Politicians and "promises" have not had a great track record ...

      Although they did promise to tear the country out of europe as a joke to look electable .. and they seem to be following through with that....

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Supermarket petrol isn't cheap

    In my case (3 litre petrol Volvo) I consistently get 15% worse fuel consumption on Asda petrol than on the stuff from the Esso station next door. I've had the car for 16 years & do occasionally try the test again but the result always stays the same. Makes less difference to our 1996 2.0 Golf but still noticeable. I suspect that it's down to the compression ratio of your engine, or max boost pressure if turbocharged. On a little shopping car with a low performance engine ymmv (literally.)

    A former colleague who went on to work in engine R&D cites Morrisons petrol as being "watery pi** with minimal calorific value" & noticeably worse than other supermarket offerings, all of which were worse than any of the "proper" petrol companies. They got the most power & most consistent results from Shell & BP.

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